HTX reenters race for Hong Kong crypto license days after withdrawing initial bid

by e_cash_top

Justin Sun-related crypto exchange HTX, formerly Huobi, has resubmitted its application for a Virtual Asset Trading Platform (VATP) license in Hong Kong. This move comes after it was reported to have withdrawn its initial application, according to a notice on the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) website.

The initial application, filed through its Hong Kong subsidiary Huobi HK on Feb. 20, was retracted on Feb. 23 without any explanation. However, the latest update on the financial watchdog’s platform reveals that the exchange reinitiated the application process on Feb. 26.

HTX has yet to respond to CryptoSlate’s request for comment as of press time.

Last year, Sun said he was confident that Hong Kong regulators would grant HTX a license because of its standing in the Asian market.

SFC restates warning

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s SFC has stepped up its warning that unregistered crypto platforms must register by Feb. 29 or close their businesses by May 31 via a pop-up on its website.

The warning appears when a user accesses its website section for listing registered platforms in the city-state.

It stated:

“Virtual asset trading platforms operating in Hong Kong which have not submitted their licence applications to the SFC by 29 February 2024 must close down their businesses in Hong Kong by 31 May 2024. Investors using these platforms should make preparations early.”

Earlier in the month, the SFC issued a notice that urged unregistered platforms in the region to start their licensing application process before Feb. 29. As of Feb. 27, the SFC has received seven fresh applications, including submissions from major crypto firms like HTX, Bullish, and, raising the tally of exchange applicants on the regulatory roster to 19.

Hong Kong VATP
Hong Kong VATP License New Applicants Since Warning (Source: SFC)

Despite this influx, OSL and Hashkey remain the only licensed crypto exchanges in Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, the regulator’s emphasis on license registration emphasizes its commitment to fostering a crypto-friendly atmosphere. Last year, Hong Kong introduced a licensing framework for VATPs to facilitate retail trading services.

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